Bob 68 and Sally 66 are Social Security clients of mine (not real names) and 2 years ago I had Sally claim her own benefits $720/mo. While Bob claimed spousal benefits (Restricted Claiming Provision) of $450/mo.  When Bob reaches 70 in 2020 his projected benefits will be $3400/mo. at that time Sally will switch to spousal benefits of $1,050/mo.  The key is getting them to wait another 2 years! Bob is still working and commuting over 2 ½ hours per day and is working 5 Continue reading →

The Missing Piece

Last month we discussed the Retirement Income Puzzle (Social Security, Investments, Work & Home Equity).  The Missing Piece in most retirement planning scenarios is the use of Home Equity, it is a viable and extremely important component of a successful plan!  For whatever reason integrating one’s home equity into the overall plan has been totally ignored by many financial planners and advisors, which I might say could be a breach of one’s fiduciary responsibility. Why should it be included into overall plan? Housing wealth makes Continue reading →

The Retirement Income Puzzle 2018

January 2018 I had an old boss that once told me “every presentation you make, you should be able to do on a bar napkin and if you can’t, you should stay in the bar until you can!”  This advice is more important today than ever in that there is so much information available from so many different sources and sites and one does not know what is valuable, insightful, misleading, too confusing or just plain wrong!   I just googled the word; RETIREMENT there are Continue reading →


As we come to the final month of the year, I thought I might reflect on 2017 and some of the interesting highlights – lowlights – and observations that I’ve encountered. In every presentation I’ve made this year, I always start with one simple statement “If you tell me your checkout date, I’ll tell you when to claim Social Security benefits!” That is the $64,000 Question all advisors face when assisting clients in determining when to claim Social Security benefits and how much they can Continue reading →

Women and Social Security

I came across and article the other day title “Why Women need to save more for retirement” and I thought it would be timely to discuss and shed additional light on the subject of Social Security. The 5 Reasons were; Women live longer than men by an average of 4 years That means an additional of 4 years income will be required. If married and husband dies his pension benefits might be reduced or eliminated upon his death. With Social Security when one spouse dies Continue reading →

Hurricane Harvey Edition

September 2017 I write this month’s article in the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma with Maria heading towards the Caribbean.  One might rightfully ask; What do these occurrences have to do with Social Security?  The answer is quite apparent when one thinks about the money that will be required to repair this devastation. When I recently spoke at the Houston, Dallas and Austin CPA Societies Spring Events, my topic was Social Security 2017 & Beyond – Integrating Reverse Mortgages into the Social Security Conversation.  Continue reading →


This week I did a Social Security training session for new hires at Lincoln National Life in Fort Wayne, IN. I started the session with one basic elementary question, “Why should you take the time and the effort to learn the basics of Social Security claiming strategies and then proactively discuss these issues with clients and prospects with full knowledge that they wouldn’t be paid for their time or advice?” Their answers; It’s IMPORTANT It’s a VALUE-ADDED service I CARE about them and don’t want Continue reading →


June 2017 Newsletter  As we’ve discussed over the past 18 months, The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 really threw a monkey wrench in spousal claiming options!  The File & Suspend option was eliminated on April 29th 2016 and the Restricted Claiming Provision is eliminated for those individuals born after 1953.  So where does that leave individuals and couples who are contemplating all their options regarding when and how to claim their Social Security benefits? Rule of thumb:  Whatever your benefit is at 62 it will Continue reading →

When in Doubt, Ask for Help!

Three times this week I was called by individuals in regards to claiming their Social Security benefits and in all 3 cases thousands of dollars were left on the table or could have been left on the table because they were unaware of their claiming options or told the wrong information from the folks at Social Security!   Let’s walk through all three cases; Case #1:  Bill who will be 70 in December was contemplating getting married and wanted to know the Social Security implications for Continue reading →


CASE STUDY – Born Lucky! Jerry and Cindy are in the process of determining the best way to claim their Social Security benefits.  What is interesting is that they were both born in January of 1954, however Patricia was born on January 1st (LAST DAY GRANDFATHER for Restricted Claiming Provision) while Jerry was born on the 26th.  So under the new law Patricia can claim spousal benefits (Restricted Claiming Provision) and delay her own benefits until age 70 once Jerry files for his own benefits Continue reading →